2018 Season Announcement: RNZB and the Australian Ballet

Get excited: the Royal New Zealand Ballet and The Australian Ballet have announced their 2018 seasons!

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will be starting their year with the world premiere of The Piano, a new full-length ballet by Jiri Bubenicek. Though Piano was originally a short work for the Dortmund Ballet, the choreographer has expanded the work specially for the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Next on the bill is Dancing with Mozart, 2018's triple bill. Jiri Kylian's Petite Mort, to Mozart's late piano concertos, premiered at the Salzburg Festival in 1991 to mark the 200th anniversary of the composer's death. Also included is Sechs Tanze (1986). Kylian's work Soldier's Mass was a renowned success during the RNZB's 2015 season. Number two on the bill is a as yet unnamed work by Corey Baker. And the third - and perhaps most exciting - item on next year's triple bill is the New Zealand premiere of George Balanchine's - yes, Balanchine's - Divertimento No. 15, to music by Mozart. Francia Russell, renowned teacher and interpreter of Balanchine's works, will aid RNZB in staging the production.

Then comes Strength & Grace, honouring both the 125th anniversary of women's suffrage in New Zealand (women got the vote here in 1893, years earlier than other major countries in the West), and the RNZB's 65th anniversary. In performance for two nights in Wellington only, Strength & Grace will exhibit a series of brand-new works from some of the world's most exciting up-and-coming choreographers, curated by RNZB's new Artistic Director, Patricia Barker.

And last on the list, a Christmas classic: The Nutcracker. The ballet will go on regional tour for the first time since 2010, right up until December 20th - a perfect Christmas present! Tchaikovsky's enchanting score will be performed by a live orchestra in Wellington, Auckland, Christchurch, and Dunedin.

In addition to this, Tutus on Tour and Ballet in a Box will continue in 2018, with planned performances in Gore, Tauranga, Oamaru, Hamilton, Taupo, Whanganui, and Kerikeri. Repertoire to be decided. The Harry Hawthorne Choreographic Award will also be presented next year. Priority booking for current subscribers opens October 2; 2018 subscribers on October 16; and public sales on November 1. See the RNZB website for more details: http://rnzb.org.nz

Across the ditch, The Australian Ballet has just released their 2018 season. They'll be kicking things off with Murphy, a celebration of Graeme Murphy's 50-year dancing career with The Australian Ballet with a highlights program that will include Murphy's Firebird.

They'll then stage The Merry Widow, a glamorous French tale based on the operetta of the same name.

The Australian Ballet's 2018 triple bill is Verve, a collation of three contemporary and neo-classical works: Tim Harbour's Filigree and Shadow, Stephen Baynes's Constant Variants, and a new work by Alice Topp, all three of whom are resident choreographers or dancers at The Australian Ballet.

Timeless classic Giselle then takes the stage, with choreography by Maina Gielgud.

Perhaps most excitingly, The Australian Ballet will present a new version of Spartacus, choreography by Lucas Jervies to Aram Khachaturian's famed score. A sneak peak of a pas de deux from the work was performed in 2016, and the full-length work should be Jervies' masterpiece.

The Australian Ballet then finishes the year with Alexei Ratmansky's acclaimed production of Cinderella. Having previously toured the ballet, Cinderella will return exclusively to Sydney.

Find out more at: https://australianballet.com.au

It seems like there'll be such an abundance of riches next year it'll be hard to choose which ones to see! In the meantime, don't forget this year's World Ballet Day is coming up soon. Our favourite companies - the Australian Ballet, the Bolshoi Ballet, the San Francisco Ballet, the National Ballet of Canada, and the Royal Ballet will be coming back live on Thursday, October 5. The event will be streamed live on FaceBook. Find out more here: http://worldballetday.com/about/. Unfortunately, due to university commitments, this blog won't be live blogging events as was done last year. I'll still be watching when I can though!

Thanks for reading!

- Selene

*All photographs are promotional material taken from the companies' websites.

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